Write Toward Your Unspecified Anxieties

Roxana Robinson

I don’t recall which author said it, but I’ve always remembered a very specific piece of writing advice:

Write about the things you can’t forget, the things that keep you up at night.

I take that to mean: write about scenes you can’t stop replaying in your head, write about the moments that still horrify and provoke you, write about the events where you’d like to dig a hole in the ground and disappear from the world in which they ever existed.

In the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, Roxana Robinson discusses that impulse—to write toward your anxieties. She says:

All the fiction I write arises from the same sort of impulse: it’s a feeling of discomfort, a kind of unspecified anxiety, a need to uncover something that troubles and disturbs me. I write toward that feeling. I try to explain it to myself in order to disarm it, to rob it of its potency. I don’t know how this explanation will happen. I don’t know how the disarmament will take place, or what else will happen in the process.

Read Robinson’s full piece.

Also this month at Glimmer Train:

Posted in Creativity + Inspiration.
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (March 2018).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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7 Comments on "Write Toward Your Unspecified Anxieties"

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[…] Pay More for Everyday Items  Science Says: Complaining Is Terrible for YouPTSD in YA LitWrite Toward Your Unspecified Anxieties  Ethics in Nonfiction for Kids Picture Books Featuring Modern Native American Families NAJA […]

Deyanira

This idea has come to mind the past week as a way to face my fears. They are especially descriptive and, yes, scenes that play over and over. Thanks for this post.

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[…] Write about the things you can't forget, the things that keep you up at night.  […]

Anmarie

Thank you. Great article! I found you through Joanna Penn.

Frances Caballo

I am so glad you posted these links and introduced me too such talented writers. I read this post and the linked articles. These are truly thoughtful writers and they inspire me. I’d love to read more by Roxana Robinson and Javier Marias. All three are lovely pieces. Thank you, Jane!

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[…] Write Toward Your Unspecified Anxieties […]

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[…] Pay More for Everyday Items  Science Says: Complaining Is Terrible for YouPTSD in YA LitWrite Toward Your Unspecified Anxieties  Ethics in Nonfiction for Kids Picture Books Featuring Modern Native American Families NAJA […]

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